Thursday, January 24, 2013

What exactly do you do?

I write for a living. For businesses. So naturally my ear is attuned to copy, especially when it’s intended to draw readers into learning more about a company.

Recently I ran across several examples of epic fail.

Below are word-for-word descriptions from actual websites (with original typos and grammar glitches).

BTW: I still don’t know exactly what these companies do.

  • We at [company name] earned vertical niches in global industry through our ability to respond to our clients with custom solutions that resolve issues rather than conceal conceptual and architectural flaws with boiler-plate responses that never quite fit the client’s need. Capability, ingenuity, response, and a commitment to excellence are the foundation of every [company name] relationship.
  • [Company name]is the business improvement company that helps you motivate the people who drive your business. We providing tailored solutions that help you get the most out of your most valuable assets: your people.
  • For companies seeking specific bio-based solutions, we orchestrate the disparate activities that facilitate technology development in order to deliver a customized solution. Specifically, we work hand-in-hand with you to identify relevant technology and determine its technical feasibility. If technical feasibility is promising, we will collaborate to develop, scale-up and deliver a de-risked commercially-viable technology package customized to your precise needs.
A Google search of “customized solutions” turned up 2,370,000 results. In 0.40 seconds

Hard to believe there’s that degree of customization among companies that lack the creativity to simply explain who they are and what they do.

You don't have to be a writer to recognize lazy writing -- or to shudder at what this implies for the brand or the business.

Friday, January 4, 2013

To boldly go

I never knew space could be so much fun. Or Twitter. Or following tweets from space.

Even William Shatner can’t resist.

Here’s his exchange yesterday with Chris Hadfield, currently in orbit on the International Space Station:

From @WilliamShatner: "@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB"
‏From @Cmdr_Hadfield: "@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface."

Within 24 hours, that exchange was retweeted 4,191 times.

Even more amazing than this life-imitating-art-imitating life scenario between Star Trek’s Captain Kirk and the soon-to-be Commander of Expedition 35 are the photos Hadfield posts to Twitter from 240 miles above earth.

Here are a few of my faves:
  • "These mountains near Sochi, Russia remind me somehow of corduroy pillows." 
  • "Great Belt Bridge, Denmark, connecting Zealand and Fyn. Straight lines stand out against nature when viewed from space." 
  • "Like a Hole Punch - confetti of farms using central irrigation in the American Southwest. Jan 2, 2013." 
  • "Mojave Desert and the lake beds of Edwards AFB where I attended test Pilot School, and where the Shuttle first landed." 
  • "A view of the Suez Canal, as it opens into the Mediterranean. A great mix of nature and powerful human engineering."
There’s much more to see and read on

Or on the NASA/ISS or Canadian Space Agency sites.

If you aren't able "To boldly go where no man has gone before," as least you can read the tweets.